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British Science Association News: September 2010

Ollie Christophers on a smörgåsbord of science

Join the ideas explosion!

Do you know any 11-18 year olds who have completed a project in science, technology, engineering or maths? Did their project dazzle you? If so, you should encourage them to enter the National Science & Engineering Competition! It is very quick and easy to enter online and the best entries will be invited to present their projects at The Big Bang: UK Young Scientists’ and Engineers’ Fair, in London on 10-12 March 2011. 

There is over £50,000 of prizes to win for both teams and individuals in three age categories. The two individual winners in the senior category will also gain the titles of UK Young Scientist of the Year and UK Young Engineer of the Year.

So, do you know a winner?

For more information about the National Science & Engineering Competition, please visit: or contact Fiona Burford, National Science & Engineering Competition Manager on 01483 826 126.

Regional Roundup

This year’s Regional Big Bang Fairs were a big hit. The 12 events saw over 800 projects presented by students aged 11-18 to judges, visiting schools and VIPs.

CREST (CREativity in Science and Technology) takes a leading role in the Regional and national Big Bang Fairs. Over 70 CREST-specific prizes were awarded to students at this year’s regionals: many of these projects will go on to next year’s National Science & Engineering Competition.

More information about CREST, the Big Bang and the National Science & Engineering Competition can be found at:


This year you can join in two online mass participation activities that British Science Association is running as we approach the Festival.  Log on to  to take part in our working memory test and then jump into the Adlab and tell us what you think about advertising.

People with superior working memory tend to have better jobs, better relationships, and lead happier lives.  People with poor working memory tend to struggle in their working and personal lives and are more likely to have trouble with the law.  A growing number of studies link memory with mental health.

The initial study on working memory, the ability to remember and manually process information, is looking to see if there is a link between your working memory, your outlook on life and the incidence of depression.

The second part of Neuromantics is the ‘Adlab’ where we will be investigating what it is about a particular advertisement that appeals to different types of people.  Are some more influenced by celebrity?  Or the scientific argument?  Or the beauty of the person seen in the ad?

The experiment aims to discover whether advertising is passive knowledge transfer, allowing individuals to make up their own mind, or whether advertisers can manipulate specific elements of commercials to target individuals’ ‘Buy Button’ in the brain.

You can find out the results from at the British Science Festival in September. 

The x-change

This year the British Science Festival comes to Aston University in Birmingham from 14-19 September. With workshops, debates, activities, plays and films, the choice is endless.

To help you out, our team of x-change volunteers pick and choose the best of the fest to round up the day. Join them and other festival-goers each evening in the Student’s Guild Blue bar to hear from a selection of the day's best speakers and catch up on who was most controversial, interesting or downright hilarious, all for free.

Disagree. Question. Debate. Enjoy a drink and get your teeth into some of the hottest science of the day. We guarantee to make you think. Everything expertly knitted together by BBC journalist Sue Nelson.


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Ollie Christophers
Ollie Christophers is the British Science Association’s Communications Officer
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